Curtain Up on Rebel Artist

dancers_muenchner Kammerspiele
Dancers at Munich's Kammerspiele.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Unconventional artistic director Matthias Lilienthal is raising eyebrows at the traditional Munich Kammerspiele.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Lilienthal built art huts throughout Munich to bring theater to the people.
    • In honor of refugees, he also convened an “Open Border Congress” and temporarily renamed the Kammerspiele as the “Munich Welcome Theater.”
    • His first season opens with Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” and “Ode to Joy,” an examination of the 1972 terror attack at the Munich Olympic games.
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It’s unclear just what the aging regulars make of the baggy jeans, the hoodie or the larger-than-life physique.

But one thing long time theatergoers at Munich’s Kammerspiele know for certain: The new artistic director Matthias Lilienthal has come to shake things up.

Sometimes, Mr. Lilienthal tries to slip in unnoticed among his audiences. But he doesn’t manage it because he stands out in the section reserved for paying subscribers – affectionately nicknamed “the silver forest.”

They seem to feel happier when he’s there, perhaps because they think he’ll protect them from the insanity playing out on the stage.

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